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March 27, 2003--In this issue:
1. NEWS AND VIEWS
- RPC Vulnerability Threatens Windows with DoS Attacks
- OpenOffice.org, StarOffice Betas Hit the Ground Running
- Join The HP & Microsoft Network Storage Solutions Road Show!
- Windows & .NET Magazine Connections: Win A Florida Vacation
3. CONTACT US
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(contributed by Paul Thurrott, [email protected])
* RPC VULNERABILITY THREATENS WINDOWS WITH DoS ATTACKS
A recently discovered vulnerability in the remote procedure call (RPC) subsystem in Windows XP, Windows 2000, and Windows NT 4.0 could make the OSs susceptible to Denial of Service (DoS) attacks, Microsoft said yesterday. And although the company has already created a patch for XP and Win2K users, Microsoft says that major changes in RPC since the release of NT 4.0 prevent the company from creating a patch for that OS. Instead, NT 4.0 users can use the workaround described on the Microsoft Web site (see the first URL below).
The RPC service lets applications on a local computer call functions in applications residing on a remote computer in the same network. Microsoft notes in its advisory that taking advantage of a vulnerability in this service, attackers can create an application that can send malformed requests to RPC, causing the RPC service to fail.
This week's RPC vulnerability follows a serious Win2K flaw that Microsoft announced a week ago and that involves ntdll.dll, one of the core Win2K system library files. According to the CERT Coordination Center (CERT/CC), this library file has a buffer-overflow vulnerability that is actively exploited on WWW Distributed Authoring and Versioning (WebDAV)-enabled Microsoft Internet Information Services (IIS) 5.0 servers, which could let remote attackers execute arbitrary code on unpatched systems. The organization recommends that sites running Win2K apply a patch or disable the WebDAV service as soon as possible. You can download the patch from Microsoft's Web site (see the second URL below).
Microsoft Security Bulletin MS03-010: Flaw in RPC Endpoint Mapper Could Allow Denial of Service Attacks
Windows 2000 Security Patch: IIS Remote Exploit from ntdll.dll Vulnerability
* OPENOFFICE.ORG, STAROFFICE BETAS HIT THE GROUND RUNNING
OpenOffice.org and Sun Microsystems announced beta releases of upcoming versions of the OpenOffice.org 1.1 and StarOffice 6.1 office productivity suites, respectively, which the organizations hope will provide enterprises with the features they need to drop Microsoft Office. OpenOffice.org is the open-source--and free--version of the suite and the version on which the commercial StarOffice is built. Both suites include Microsoft Office-compatible word processing, spreadsheet, presentation, and drawing applications; StarOffice adds a database application and other unique features.
Both products include support for a variety of new data formats, including the increasingly ubiquitous Adobe Acrobat PDF, Macromedia Flash, DocBook, several PDA Office file formats, flat XML and XHTML, and support for more than 10 new languages. Other features, including a new macro recorder, seem to be lifted straight from the Microsoft Office playbook. And both suites will offer full compatibility with all the native data formats that Microsoft Office 2003 supports, Sun says, although those features aren't complete in the current beta releases.
The StarOffice beta also includes a new software development kit (SDK) to help businesses create custom solutions. Sun says that the SDK will help position StarOffice as a better alternative to Microsoft Office and the recently reenergized Corel WordPerfect Office. Until now, Sun and OpenOffice.org have seen little uptake with PC makers, who are the leading delivery vehicles for office productivity suites. However, both suites have proven popular with governments and educational institutions, especially in markets such as Europe and developing nations such as China.
Both beta releases are available for free at the URLs below. The OpenOffice.org 1.1 beta release is a 59MB download; the StarOffice beta includes a core download (106MB), an optional Adabas database download (21MB), and PDF-based installation instructions. Note that the StarOffice 6.1 beta expires in September.
OpenOffice.org 1.1 beta
Sun StarOffice 6.1 beta
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